What is an Easement?

Published On: 1 October 2019
An Easement is a right to use part of land belonging to someone else.

Easements are usually, but not always, registered on your Certificate of Title.

There are 2 types of easements; Private and Public.

Private easements are between two private property owners usually for rights of way or party walls.
Public easements are usually for the supply of utilities; power, water or gas.

If an easement is registered on your property, it is important to understand the meaning and where it is located, and if there are restrictions on the use of that part of land.

Generally, building over an easement isn’t permitted.

To find out where an easement is located on your property, it may be described on the diagram attached to your Certificate of Title, or on a plan lodged with the Land Titles Office.

An easement can be removed from your Certificate of Title if both parties agree; you will need to engage a Conveyancer or Solicitor to prepare the necessary documentation.

Statutory Easements to SA Power Networks are not shown on a Certificate of Title and encompasses all land with an electricity supply from the grid, so that supply can be delivered by poles and wire, or underground.

A Public or Private easement granted must be for a specific purpose, Conveyancers and Solicitors traditionally refer to easements as ‘short form’ or ‘long form’.

Schedules 5 and 6 of the Real Property Act detail ‘short form’ categories of easements and their expanded long form meaning. Section 89 of the Real Property Act provides for the use of ‘short form’ wording to create easements with the implication that the easement is actually as defined by the long form wording.

By example, titles are often seen with the wording ‘together with an easement for water supply purposes’. This wording is automatically deemed to refer to the long term wording of ‘the right for him, his agents, servants and workmen at any time to break the surface of, dig, open up and use the land (described for that purpose in this instrument) for the purpose of laying down, fixing, taking up, repairing re-laying or examining pipes and of using and maintaining those pipes for water supply purposes and to enter the land at any time (if necessary with vehicles and equipment) for any of those purposes’.

For any further easement information please contact Strathalbyn Conveyancing or Land Services SA.